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How did this British Airways flight end up with a square tire?

A flight from Hong Kong mysteriously lands in London with one of its 18 tires deflated and squished into a square.

The British Airways flight landed normally with one of its 18 tires deflated.

Simon Hradecky, Aviation Herald

A spare tire is one thing, but one British Airways flight landed in London with something many experts have never seen before: a square tire.

The Airbus A380-800 departed Hong Kong on May 6 and was climbing when the crew received a tire-pressure notification, the Aviation Herald reports.

The plane can land safely with one of its 18 tires deflated, so the crew continued on to London Heathrow. The landing was normal, but the photo of the plane taken afterward -- with one of the tires smooshed into a shape as square as Pat Boone -- drew buzz from plane-watchers.

Suggestions as to how the tire was forced into the square shape were many and varied. Some Aviation Herald readers questioned the temperature when the tire was inflated, some blamed the pressure of descent crushing the tire and some just wanted to argue about why the other reasons were wrong.

Royal Aeronautical Society aviation safety expert Kumar Mysore was quoted in the Daily Mail as blaming the way the plane distributes weight.

"The effect of the weight on the deflated tire is the same as when you squeeze a rubber ring toy with different intensity, it can turn into a different shape," he said. "In an A380, for this particular situation, it happens to be squarish. In a 747, for instance, the load of the aircraft does not give rise to this particular shape."

One Aviation Herald reader didn't care about the reason, but was fascinated with the result, writing,
"I wish to acquire this tire and exhibit it in a sculpture park."